Charlotte man, Vietnam War veteran honored with second Bronze Star

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CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WLNS)– The call to protect and serve runs in Sergeant Ed Ellard’s blood.

He comes from a long line of soldiers and joined the army in 1966 to serve in Vietnam, where on a hot day, he walked in front of his troops after sending several back to base from heat exhaustion.

“I said okay, I’m not gonna ask my men to do anything I wouldn’t do,” Ellard said. “So I was out in front, I put my 60-gunner to my right and my grenade-launching guy to my left. And…all hell broke loose.”

The shots from Vietnamese troops came fast. Ellard was uninjured, but the gunfire wounded a few of his troops. He knew he had to act quickly.

“I don’t know how I did it,” he says, “must have been adrenaline. I picked him up and I carried him over my shoulder, grabbed his machine gun.”

He kept running and kept firing until he and the rest of his troops made it to safety and first aid.

And even though friends and family are proud of him for his achievements, he says it’s what any good soldier would’ve done.

“Today they kind of made a deal like I was a hero. I’m no hero,” Ballard said. “The heroes from my unit, they’re on a black granite wall in Washington, D.C. and forever young.”

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